All that glisters is not gold… Had you been as wise as bold, Young in limbs, in judgement old, Your answer had not been inscroll’d, Fare you well, your suit is cold.–William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
In addition to whatever other accolades attorney Richard Golden can claim, such as former Orange County Attorney, he is proving himself a master as the Government Defiance Man. When the Orange County Industrial Development Agency was having some trouble with the fact that their Armory Grant was, oh, illegal, but they would never admit that or ask the State Comptroller’s office about it because the totally obvious answer was yes, this is totally wrong, they called in Government Defiance Man Rick Golden to figure out a way to let them do what they want–legal or not.
Government Defiance Man wisely knew not to ask the State Comptroller’s opinion, either, but came up with some reasoning that the Authorities Budget Office (part of the State Comptroller’s Division) shot down, albeit to a journalist and not directly to the IDA.
Repeatedly, I asked the Orange County IDA, including former Chairman Jim Petro and former Counsel Phil Crotty, as well as grantmaker Bill Kaplan, why they woudn’t just make a phone call and ask the Comptroller’s Office what they thought about the legality of this grant, but I never got an answer. I must not have been the only one with an eighth grade or better reading level who could understand the grant was illegal.
Now Rick Golden is defending County Executive Diana’s administration in the Valley View Nursing Home hearings. What does this involve? Yes–of course–more government defiance.
In a letter from Mr. Golden to the attorney advising the legislative committee, Mr. Golden explains his objections to giving testimony under oath, including this:
Those called to give sworn testimony will then have the specter of being the subject of a criminal prosecution for statements which turn out to be inaccurate but which flow from simple lapses in memory or hindsight attribution of constructive knowledge of certain documents, etc. This concern by County employees is particularly acute in the light of the political construct of the formation of the Committees. Although such prosecutions will likely not prevail, those County employees branded by Committee members with a simple accusation of perjury will bear that scar forever, and will be subject to the potentially crippling expense of a criminal prosecution against them, as the County cannot defend or indemnify them on matters arising out of any criminal charges.
However, Mr. Golden’s grip on perjury is slippery at best:
N.Y. PEN. LAW § 210.05 : NY Code – Section 210.05: Perjury in the third degree
A person is guilty of perjury in the third degree when he swears
Perjury in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor.
N.Y. PEN. LAW § 210.10 : NY Code – Section 210.10: Perjury in the second degree
A person is guilty of perjury in the second degree when he swears
falsely and when his false statement is (a) made in a subscribed written
instrument for which an oath is required by law, and (b) made with
intent to mislead a public servant in the performance of his official
functions, and (c) material to the action, proceeding or matter
Perjury in the second degree is a class E felony.
N.Y. PEN. LAW § 210.15 : NY Code – Section 210.15: Perjury in the first degree
A person is guilty of perjury in the first degree when he swears
falsely and when his false statement (a) consists of testimony, and (b)
is material to the action, proceeding or matter in which it is made.
Perjury in the first degree is a class D felony.
What does it mean to “swear falsely”? It does NOT mean, to use Mr. Golden’s terms, to make “simple lapses in memory or hindsight…” N.Y. PEN. LAW § 210.00 : NY Code – Section 210.00: Perjury and related offenses; definitions of terms, Paragraph 5 defines “swear falsely” thus:
5. "Swear falsely." A person "swears falsely" when he intentionally
makes a false statement which he does not believe to be true (a) while
giving testimony, or (b) under oath in a subscribed written instrument.
A false swearing in a subscribed written instrument shall not be deemed
complete until the instrument is delivered by its subscriber, or by
someone acting in his behalf, to another person with intent that it be
uttered or published as true.
Thus, perjury is knowingly lying. Why would our dear County Executive fear being caught knowingly lying, or having any of his employees caught knowingly lying?
The drama continues this week with hearings scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday (monthly schedule here). Diana might be there Tuesday; if and probably not, we will have Golden’s magic act and slippery grip of perjury in his place.
One for the Ladies
Did you read Doonesbury today, Sunday July 15? Here’s a link to the strip.
When I read this, I immediately thought of the Newburgh Industrial Development Agency, which the Newburgh City Council had the “wisdom” to appoint an all-male, seven-member board in 2008. At some point, one of its members effectively dropped out, moving out of state, but it took a long time for the board to bother noticing that this was a problem that needed attention.
They are now looking for another board member–although the search process has been limper than overcooked noodles.
Perhaps there is a lady out there who could take on the dubious challenge of improving the collective IQ level and non-existent gender equity of this agency.
My second thought was about the Orange County IDA, which is one small point better than the Newburgh IDA on the gender equity score because IT has a WOMAN BOARD MEMBER! Imagine! How extraordinary. And unlike several of the Newburgh IDA board members, whose backgrounds are academic and/or nonprofit, Ms. Rogulski is a businesswoman–a banker–and she frequently says very intelligent things! I have heard them with my own ears!
But this does not raise the collective IQ of the County IDA anywhere close to where it should be, although it brings them perhaps to the early 1960s instead of the 1950s or the 1900s.
It must have been Ms. Rogulski’s sparkling intelligence that swayed Active Ventilation to pursuing the County IDA for benefits and giving up on the Newburgh IDA, even though they are located in the City of Newburgh. Not for long. Wawayanda beckons.
Instead, the Newburgh IDA has a proposal before the Newburgh City Council (that may be on the agenda for Monday night’s meeting) for a busywork project of making a database of small businesses–for which they are asking for a CDBG grant for $15,000. It is unclear to me now, as it was in February, when this proposal was first brought forward, several things:
a.) Isn’t this the kind of thing the IDA should be doing on its own dime?
b.) Aren’t the CDBG funds better spent elsewhere?
c.) Isn’t it totally pathetic the Newburgh IDA can’t do real work, like keeping Active Ventilation in Newburgh with its 30 or more jobs to be created, in manufacturing no less–how many US manufacturing companies are there these days–and instead we get these ridiculous projects a competent secretary could polish off in a few afternoons?
Memo to the Newburgh IDA: Women Board Members Needed. It’s Critical.
P.S. I admit, I also wondered fancifully if Mr. Petro had resigned to open up another spot for a woman, instead of some other reason, like holding the State Comptroller’s Office in contempt, but there is no record of any correspondence between the State Comptroller and Mr. Petro or his friend and fellow resignee IDA counsel Phil Crotty. How do I know? I FOILed for it. Although I guess you can’t FOIL telephone calls.